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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Adventure Comics #222 - March 1956

Comics Weekend "A Rival For Aquaman" by Jack Miller(?) and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

How demoralizing for Aquaman and Green Arrow: they haven't rated a mention on the cover in months, but "Magic Tricks You Can Do!" gets some valuable real estate. *Sigh*

Anyway, this month, Aquaman meets his first genuine superhero!:
Seaman (stop giggling) once again helps Aquaman out on a rescue, pushing the crippled boat out of harm's way. Some newspaper reports come floating by in a rubber raft, only to have Seaman swim away, insisting he doesn't want any publicity for his superheroing, leaving Aquaman puzzled.

Just as Aquaman starts to head back to shore, a downpour starts, and Seaman finds the Sea King, asking for help. But before he can explain, another Surface Dweller gets into a jam:
...and with that, so ends another adventure for Aquaman!

What a truly bizarre story, even for Golden Age superhero standards. There's this whole "publicity" angle that Aquaman keeps focusing on, even when confronted with another presumed superhero who has similar powers. Then he explains, oh, I'm a space alien, help me home, and in three panels Aquaman has got the guy heading back into space, with barely a shrug at the whole thing. Even Tusky the Walrus is unimpressed.

Surprise surprise, we never saw Seaman again...I wonder if by now we as a civilization are considered "good enough" for Seaman and his planet full of Esther Williams stand-ins? I mean, we've got iPhones and everything!

Nice art by Ramona Fradon (of course) and coloring--the downpour sequence and it's monochromatic palate is unusual, and that spaceship is so classic 50s sci-fi I wish Aurora had made a model of it, retroactively.


Anthony said...

Probably no slight meant against Aquaman or Green Arrow, but a change in how DC designed its covers during this time. "World's Finest" used to bill its non-Superman/Batman characters on the covers as well, until those descriptions were dropped (around the same time it became a Superman/Batman teamup book).

Yeah, the publicity angle's a bit weird...

Nice Fradon artwork as usual.

"Aren't ready for outer space visitors"? Someone should tell that guy in Metropolis (or those space aliens with the pathetically slow spaceship-to-Pluto Arthur met awhile back).

Meanwhile, over on Earth-One...

Re: Superboy: One of Smallville's "strongest men" is an elderly guy?! Anyway, the plot: a "freak occurrence" compels Superboy to repeat the deeds he did exactly a year ago upon hearing a chime.

Russell said...

Hmmm.....odd issue, for sure.
Did Aquaman ever try swimming up in the rain after this? That just sounds impossible.
And the first page, when Seaman (heh-heh) is swimming *down* the waterfall; what is supposed to be so exciting about that?

I'm with Anthony above; when I saw the cover I thought, an old guy is the strongest man in Smallville? Also, Lana on the cover says Superboy is repeating something from *three* years ago, which begs the question....how long was Clark active as Superboy? I figured it was about three years tops...middle-school to high school. He doesn't look like he's grown much in three years.

Anthony said...

@Russell: Clark first became Superboy at age 8; the earliest stories (from the 40s) actually show him as a grade-schooler, as do the occasional flashbacks in later years. Most Superboy stories, however, depict Clark's teen years in high school. Clark remained Superboy until sometime during his college career at Metropolis University (as late as age 20-21), after which his fellow JLAers (Flash, Batman, etc.) begin to show up. The only other long-lasting publicly active superpowered hero during Superboy's time is... Aquaman (As "Aquaboy")!

BlUsKrEEm said...

I am a little surprised these guys didn't make a return appearance in the Silver Age. "Planet of Aquamen!" Sounds like the perfect silver age title to me.

Anonymous said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

"Is this a joke? Or is the stranger really from outer-space?"

He is! He is from outer-space! Not a hoax! Not a dream! An honest-to-god science fiction element in the golden age Aquaman. We've been waiting for this for a long time. I judge this as one of the stronger stories lately. I liked the "shallow water planet" angle. I've never heard of that one before.

James Chatterton